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8" Surface May Arrive in June; Windows 8.1 in October

By - Source: Digitimes | B 18 comments

Microsoft may launch its 8-inch Surface tablet in June, followed by Windows 8.1 in October.

DigiTimes provided a double-shot of Windows 8 goodness on Thursday, first reporting that Windows 8.1 is estimated to launch in late October. We already speculated this would be the timeframe when Microsoft's update would hit the masses, but sources "related to ODMs" offered their two cents nonetheless. An October release schedule would seemingly keep the platform on a tight yearly refresh given Windows 8 launched on October 26, 2012.

However, these sources believe that Windows 8.1 won’t be enough to push large numbers of new hardware sales, citing some nonsense about how current users can take advantage of third-party apps like Start8 to modify the interface and features. For current Windows 8 customers, the upgrade will be completely free – how the updated platform will push sales later this year will depend on how it's advertised.

But these sources do point out that Microsoft will need to drop its Windows 8 licensing even lower if the company wants to make a major, positive impact on the consumer market this fall. Microsoft is reportedly providing licensing subsidies for products with display sizes 11.6-inches and below. Thus, ODMs producing slightly larger notebooks are having a hard time competing with those products on a price level.

Launching Windows 8.1 in October seems to fall in line with Microsoft's former release schedule with Windows 8. The company launched a Consumer Preview on February 29, a meatier Release Preview on May 31, and then the full retail version on October 26. Microsoft plans to launch the Release Preview for Windows 8.1 next month during BUILD 2013 along with a rumored 8-inch Surface tablet.

That's where DigiTimes' second report of the day chimes in. Unnamed sources from supply chain makers in Taiwan claim that an 8-inch Surface will arrive in June followed by a 10.x-inch model as early as 3Q13. The 8-inch model will reportedly use a Nvidia SoC – presumably the Tegra 4 – and a touch panel supplied by Samsung. Taiwan-based ODM Pegatron will be responsible for production.

The details surrounding the 10.x-inch tablet are unclear, but it will be slightly smaller than the current 10.6-inch Surface tablets. It will also arrive once Microsoft has flushed out the current stockpile with deep discounts later this year. Microsoft expects initial monthly shipments of the two new devices to reach one million units, sources said.

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  • 1 Hide
    vmem , May 16, 2013 9:26 PM
    hmm, Temash on the 10-inch me thinks?
  • -2 Hide
    BringMeAnother , May 16, 2013 10:08 PM
    I hope it's not temash. NotebookCheck reviewed it and it didn't look that good. It will likely be Haswell. At least I hope so.
  • 1 Hide
    vmem , May 16, 2013 10:22 PM
    Quote:
    I hope it's not temash. NotebookCheck reviewed it and it didn't look that good. It will likely be Haswell. At least I hope so.


    Well, I'm hoping they've updated it since the one in the acer aspire... and Haswell chips with decent graphics still consume too much power to be in a tablet. in a 10-inch, all I want is the ability to handle a bunch of browser-tabs, word processing, and maybe basic powerpoint stuff.

    but I might game a little when I'm bored, and Temash will let me run windows based MMOs :p 

  • -1 Hide
    stevejnb , May 16, 2013 10:31 PM
    If that little one isn't under $300, I don't see it making an impact. Heck, even that is a stretch, seeing as you can get similar sized Android tablet for about half that, so I'm not loving its chances. I also seriously doubt thy sell it for under $300.
    All this as someone who really, really likes his Windows 8 Pro Acer Iconia W700 tablet. I'd like to see these things pick up, but MS ain't making it easy. I'd like to say they are thinking long term, but that's what I thought about the Zune HD.
  • -4 Hide
    falchard , May 17, 2013 1:33 AM
    Tablets are a boring prospect to me when the best GPU you can get by it s made by Intel.
  • -1 Hide
    g00fysmiley , May 17, 2013 4:59 AM
    it would be competing against the likes of the nexus7 and kindle fire, most consumers won't care that the tegra 4 will be a better preocessor they will only look at storage space and price, if it is over $250 it will flop and even then tha tis only becasue of the slightly larger screen
  • 0 Hide
    back_by_demand , May 17, 2013 6:06 AM
    Don't care, still want the Surface Pro, on sale in UK next weekend
  • -1 Hide
    stevejnb , May 17, 2013 7:01 AM
    If that little one isn't under $300, I don't see it making an impact. Heck, even that is a stretch, seeing as you can get similar sized Android tablet for about half that, so I'm not loving its chances. I also seriously doubt thy sell it for under $300.
    All this as someone who really, really likes his Windows 8 Pro Acer Iconia W700 tablet. I'd like to see these things pick up, but MS ain't making it easy. I'd like to say they are thinking long term, but that's what I thought about the Zune HD.
  • -1 Hide
    stevejnb , May 17, 2013 7:06 AM
    Quote:
    Don't care, still want the Surface Pro, on sale in UK next weekend


    I'd strongly recommend getting a tablet like that. Best combination of portability and functionality of any device I've ever used.

    What I'd recommend though is checking out some of the non MS alternatives. The Surface is great - I've used one - but it's more or less the same device as the Iconia W700 at a higher cost with fewer bells and whistles. Not sure if it sells in the UK though...
  • -1 Hide
    DryCreamer , May 17, 2013 7:36 AM
    I've really been thinking about a W700, but if they release a 8" tablet with an x86 CPU, that would really be what I'm interested in. Sadly, Acer or another OEM will probably release a product I'm more interested in than MS will...
    Dry
  • 1 Hide
    stevejnb , May 17, 2013 7:49 AM
    Yeah, the Surface products are all good and fine, but I get the feeling they're pricing like they're the premium brand when they're not offering anything more of substance than the competing Windows tablets no-one knows about. Acer has clasically been a crap brand though, and their price reflects that even when they do offer a good product.

    The W700 required a network driver update when I first got it, but since then it has been running without a hitch. It is a bit on the heavy side though for using it like an e-reader for extended periods - same deal with the Surface. Not terrible, but I notice it compared to my Le Pan II Android tablet. I'm 100% sold on the Windows tablets for general functionality in comparison to Android/Apple, but waiting for an 8 inch tablet would be better for what a lot of people use them for.
  • -1 Hide
    ethanolson , May 17, 2013 8:16 AM
    Um... HP proved to Microsoft with their ElitePad that you don't need a 1366x768 display to have a really good tablet. So, I'm not surprised that they're seeing things a bit differently now and are updating to have a Small Form Factor version officially available which is officially sanctioned, instead of the "we're gonna do it anyway because we know better than you" attitude that HP (successfully) employed in Microsoft's face.
  • 1 Hide
    stevejnb , May 17, 2013 8:34 AM
    Ethan, problem is, it has never been about who releases the best product overall, best product for the best price, best product whatever. If that were so, Apple would be charging half what they do now in order to keep their lead because, simply put, for most people their product is not the best solution, and is FAR from the best price for what you get in tablets.

    The Surface name doesn't count for much in the tablet world over all, but it's the big fish in the Windows tablet world. Much like casual users will say "Hey man, I just got this iPad! It has wireless internet and can play games and music and search the internet!" and have people recognize it like some sort of gold standard, if you're a casual user, the Surface is the closest thing in the Windows tablet world. If you're one of those odd and rare casual users who wants a Windows tablets, people will react to the Surface in a similar manner and have no idea what an Acer or HP tablet or whatever is.

    These devices are "cool" and perception sells.
  • 0 Hide
    Christian Marcelito , May 18, 2013 11:20 PM
    I think there is still time for Microsoft to redesign Windows 8 to take the strengths of both Non-Touch (Start Menu) and Touch (Start Screen) merged them into one screen instead of having two separate ones as shown here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4MBZNSVEPnc
  • 0 Hide
    DryCreamer , May 20, 2013 5:59 AM
    Perception is the truth


    Dry
  • 0 Hide
    stevejnb , May 21, 2013 9:08 AM
    Quote:
    Perception is the truth


    Dry


    A lot of people perceive that the iPad, and Apple products in general, are the most technologically advanced, most functional, best items for them on the market. Do you think that these millions of perceptions are the truth in the case of phones/tablets/MP3 players/computers?
  • 0 Hide
    DryCreamer , May 22, 2013 10:04 AM
    I don't know, I know the truth is that Apple products use the same ARM and Intel hardware the rest of the world uses... best and most are usually assigned to opinions. And typically a consumer spends money to buy a brand, not a product, assuming that association with that brand helps them escalate THEIR own value as an individual. A $300 Android tablet with typically do a lot of the same functions as a $600 ipad, but the general opinion is that the Apple as better 'software' user experience but from what I've learned is that software experience typically equates to downloading 48 apps that you will never use, and then 5 key apps you use all the time, most of which are available cross platform anyway...

    Dry
  • 0 Hide
    DryCreamer , May 22, 2013 10:08 AM
    Quote:


    And to follow up with a more specific example:

    the argument I hear the most is that 'Macs handle video better' but from what I've learned is that Adobe Premiere or Sony Vegas works the same on a Mac as it does when I run it on my Windows Vista workstation at home. So unless I've missed some massive functionality in my Adobe Production Suite 5.5 that Mac users get, I've only got about $500 in my used Dell 5400 dual quad core Xeon and it works pretty well.